Harbaugh Coached Teams on the Road

Submitted by Sledgehammer on November 14th, 2016 at 6:40 PM

After last Saturday, I wanted to look at how Harbaugh teams have done on the road against the spread. Here are the results from the last two years.

Nov 12, 2016










Oct 29, 2016










Oct 8, 2016










Nov 21, 2015










Nov 14, 2015










Oct 31, 2015










Oct 3, 2015










Sep 3, 2015











Michigan is 6-2 on the road the past two years, but 3-5 against the spread. The data for Stanford was harder to find and not as neatly packaged as the more recent Michigan games, so here is a bullet point with the years.

·         In 2010, Stanford had a 5-1 record on the road, but were 4-2 against the spread.

·         In 2009, Stanford had a 2-3 record on the road and were 2-3 against the spread.

·         In 2008, Stanford had a 1-6 record on the road, but were 2-5 against the spread

·         In 2007, Stanford had a 2-2 record on the road and were 2-2 against the spread

His total record on the road in his last six seasons as a college coach is 16-14 and his record against the spread is 13-17. So, what does this tell us? It says that a Harbaugh coached team doesn’t perform that well on the road compared to expectations. 



November 14th, 2016 at 6:47 PM ^

I don't buy it. That is only two games away from meeting expectations with only a 30 game sample. We also don't know the record of all coaches on the road against the spread (perhaps bettors have been poor at predicting the outcome of road games over the past few years and Harbaugh is even closer to average than you would think just looking at 13-17). 


November 14th, 2016 at 6:51 PM ^

This is not particularly useful information. Also, during his first year at Stanford, Harbaugh pulled off the largest point-spread upset in college football history, and he did it on the road (with a backup QB who had thrown just three passes prior to that game, no less). 

Voltron Blue

November 14th, 2016 at 6:52 PM ^

The spread matters because it's the closest approximation we have to "expectations". It's not about beating the spread for sake of beating it, it's a measure of how he's doing relative to how he's "supposed" to do.

rob f

November 14th, 2016 at 6:56 PM ^

I'd hate for the CoPoCo members to factor this "Harbaugh vs. the spread" data into their decision when choosing the 4 playoff teams in a few weeks.


rob f

November 14th, 2016 at 6:56 PM ^

I'd hate for the CoPoCo members to factor this "Harbaugh vs. the spread" data into their decision when choosing the 4 playoff teams in a few weeks.



November 14th, 2016 at 7:04 PM ^

The problem here is that the "Harbaugh Vs. The Spread" Excel file is actually tracking the number of times Harbaugh's sandwiches have Hellman's or Miracle Whip. According the the CFP, Hellman's is a quality win, so if a mjaority of the sandwiches employ Miracle Whip, we could fall out of playoff consideration even if we win out. 

I think that's how it works anyway.


November 14th, 2016 at 6:57 PM ^

Such a divide on this topic.

People make a lot of money setting spreads, while it's not valuable to me as a fan, it's at least something to consider when analyzing the strength of a team and coach.

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Maize Craze

November 14th, 2016 at 6:58 PM ^

While I don't think the spread is relevant. I am also a little concerned about coming out flat on the road. We better figure it out fast because we go to Madison and Happy Valley next year.


November 14th, 2016 at 6:59 PM ^

If JH wins or loses a close one in C-bus I won't care about this stat. But if he gets owned again, then yeah- its reasonable to start asking about road game weakness.


November 14th, 2016 at 7:07 PM ^

looking at the spread and covering can be useful, but just a record ATS does not tell the whoe story in terms of expectations.  

If you are a road dog getting 3 and you lose 24-20, that is a hell of a lot different than being a road dog getting 7 and losing 42-10, or being a road fave laying 24 and losing outright.  

I'd like to see more of a breakdown as road dog and road favorite.  


November 14th, 2016 at 7:33 PM ^

GTFO with this shit.  You can't compare Stanford to Uof M and it's pretty obvious winning on the road is hard.  Spreads are for betting and have nothing to do with expectation.


November 14th, 2016 at 7:35 PM ^

Compiling data and drawing conclusions without considering the quality, or type, of data is not the way it's done.

First year performance should be disregarded, quite simply, because you're putting a new system into place.  Secondly, I would argue that Harbaugh's second year data at Stanford should also be disregarded due to the condition of the program and personnel he inherited.

Looking at Harbaugh when he coached in the NFL with talent at a similar level to that of his competitors I think he was like around 75% W-L ratio.

At the FBS level, the talent level that Harbaugh will get puts them in the OSU/Alabama peer group.  Unlike the NFL, there is not a commonality of talent on collegiate teams. 

That being said we see the same exact trends at Stanford, San Franciso and Michigan of rising performance.  Unfortunately, the dataset always ends at 4-ish years but Harbaugh has a track record of winning at a .900+ level.  Even playing against teams with similar talent levels he is .750.

This should make Michigan fans sleep well.


November 14th, 2016 at 7:42 PM ^

If Michigan had won on Saturday; If Harbaugh was more than 0.500 ATS, then this table doesn't happen and people are not crabby either. However, if you pull stats which would make people edgy, you are better off leaving the controversial pieces. 

Now that you have raised this issue, what's the average deviation from the expected value (as someone else had also mentioned)? How does that compare to the rest of the CFB? To the "elite" coaches of CFB? 


November 14th, 2016 at 7:58 PM ^

my emails?


Not sure this is much different than most  Big Ten coaches, for all the ridicule our conference gets over the years there are some universally tough places to play.  Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State, Nebraska and Ohio State.  For Michigan I'd throw MSU in that lot.  I'd like to think Michigan is a tough place for everyone else to play as well.


November 14th, 2016 at 8:18 PM ^

Question-if spreads are about expectations and not gambling, then early season spreads should be exactly the same as late season spreads barring a major injury. Do you honestly think we would be 17 point favorites against Colorado if we played them next week at home? This is fucking stupid


November 14th, 2016 at 8:47 PM ^

I'm sorry but the Michigan spreads have been out of control this year. I'm intrigued in seeing what happens with Saturday's spread tomorrow. I doubt even if they consider Speight a no go we give up less than 20.

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November 14th, 2016 at 8:53 PM ^

Two more wins and it would have have been 15-15, which is what one would expect.

No conclusion can be drawn from this. I suggest that you take an introductory course in statistics. 


November 14th, 2016 at 9:40 PM ^

"So, what does this tell us? It says that a Harbaugh coached team doesn’t perform that well on the road compared to expectations."

So fire him, right?

What a crock of special snowflake bullshit.  Fuck the fuck off with this bullshit, OP...


November 14th, 2016 at 11:57 PM ^

Tired of these threads questioning Harbaugh. We lost 1 game. Yes we should have beat them, guess what it happens! Urban lost to PSU this year, and MSU last year, and a 5-7 VT team at home the year they won the natty. I saw one comment Saturday night saying, as long as Harbaugh is coach, our ceiling is 10-2 every year. I don't remember who posted that, but fuck you. If you're reading this right now, and you posted that -fuck you! Don't these complainers remember the Hoke years? The RR years? Even Lloyd was 3-4 loses per year. Harbaugh has put this team back on the map! and I still think we have a good chance to win out and make the playoff. And even if we don't, an 11-2 type season is way better than the days of Dave Brandon.. Also Saban and Urban both lost two games in their second years at Bama and OSU and neither won their conference.


November 15th, 2016 at 2:25 AM ^

It's even more laughable to make 10-2 ceiling bull shit claims given how every single "expert" said it was a multiple seasons to contend for the big title. Yet, year two and they control their own destiny.
This fan base has too many people that either know very little about football or just drastically overreact at the first sign of adversity. Probably both.


November 15th, 2016 at 2:20 AM ^

Add last years bowl game to the list, as it was effectively a road game. Also, you can't use his time at Stanford to try and justify your conclusion that his team's underperform. Stanford was one of the worst fbs programs when he took over, of course the results look poorly.